This post is to describe some of my favorite road bike rides in the Castle Rock Colorado area. If you are new to the area, or new to cycling this post should help you find great rides that are not to far from home. Many new cyclists get stuck riding loops in their neighborhood. One of the best parts of cycling is getting out, and exploring your area. I hope that you will find new routes to ride.
The routes described here are safe for cyclists. This means the roads have low traffic, contain a shoulder or dedicated bike lane, and in some cases make use of a bike path. Venturing off of your neighborhood green belts for the first time is somewhat intimidating. Finding new road routes is very rewarding, and will greatly increase your cycling fitness. Of course sharing the road with cars, is not without risk. Make sure you learn and practice cycling saftey.
You don’t have to ride these routes as they are mapped out. They are intended to give you ideas of what roads in the area are good. Combine routes to make longer rides; try finding a way to the start of the route from your house; or only ride a portion of the ride.
The route maps are created using Map My Ride. You can download to your smart phone using their app, print the maps, or export to gpx / kml for use with your favorite mapping software.
Routes are ordered in approximate difficulty from easiest to hardest.
Length: 12 mi
Elevation Gain: 433 ft
This Route follows a loop around the Meadows Neighborhood in western Castle Rock. Park the trail head on the south side of Meadows Parkway (just west of 85). From here you will ride down and turn left onto the plumb creek trail. Follow this trail uphill until you get to Meadows. Turn right and follow this two lane road. If the traffic is to heavy there is a sidewalk along this road. Turn Left onto to foothills drive. You will follow this low traffic road through the neighborhood until you intersect with coachline. Coachline will turn into plumb creek parkway. The traffic near the interstate is a bit nerve racking to negotiate, but it is manageable. After crossing under I/25 join up with Plumb Creek trail, which will return you to the start
Diamond Ridge / Lariat Rd
Length: 13 mi
Elevation Gain: 800ft
Park your car somewhere just after turning on to Crowfoot Valley road from Founders Parkway. You will make a short climb up Crowfoot Valley, and then turn onto Diamond Ridge Road. Follow this good cycling road through roundabouts enjoying the view of high end homes. You will come to a culdisack with a white fence / gate at the end. There is a small opening where you can ride your bike through this gate. Enjoy some rolling hills with fun curves as you ride round lariat road. You will return through the gate and follow Diamond Ridge back to the start.
Plumb Creek Loop
Length: 22 mi
Elevation Gain: 800ft
This route leaves from the Douglas county event center. You should be able to find adequate parking here. Cross plumb creek parkway at the light and follow the large well marked bike lane. As you follow this road you will encounter several small hills. The route includes an optional side trip around loop road. This is a nice road to ride on with nearly no traffic. After riding loop road you will turn onto lake gulch. This road has minimal shoulder, but does not see heavy traffic. Before meeting up with Ridge Road you will hit a short but steep climb. The first part of ridge road is dirt, it is well packed, and is fine to ride with a road bike. The route then tours the Castle Wood Ranch neighborhood on bike paths. The route ends with a fun fast downhill on Plumb Creek.
Crowfoot To Inverness Lollipop
Length: 38 Mi
Elevation Gain: 1076 ft.
This route starts on Crowfoot Valley Road. After turning onto Hess you will join up with the Cherry Creek Bike path at Salsbury Park. This well used path will lead you north towards Aurora. From Cherry Creek Trail Turn Left onto the 470 Trail. This is another great East / West running bike path. You will exit this path at Peoria street, and once again ride on the road. You ride up by the centennial airport, where you can watch planes landing. Then you take a tour around the DTC. I would not recommend riding this portion on a weekday rush hour, as traffic is likely high. On the weekends it is pleasant riding.
Parker Highlands Ranch Lollipop
Length: 42 Mi
Elevation Gain: 1500 ft
This route starts on Crowfoot Valley Road. You will turn left onto Hess Road. The first part of this road is a little busy. If you are uncomfortable with the traffic there is a sidewalk you can ride on. After crossing Chambers the traffic subsides, and there is a nice wide shoulder to ride on. You climb a good sized hill near the new damn, and then cross over I25, and make your way into Castle Pines. There is an easy to access gas station on the right where you can rehydrate or use the restroom. In Castle Pines you will make a right on to Monarch Blvd. As you enter Highlands Ranch on Quebec the traffic gets pretty heavy. However, there is a good bike lane that will keep you out of harms way. Most of the major roads in the area have a bike lane so feel free to branch off, and ride to your favorite restaurant for lunch. When you are ready make your way to the 470 trail which parallels C470. You will follow this back to Cherry Creek
Perry Park Loop
Length: 46 mi
Elevation Gain: 2100ft
The Elephant Rock Ride, or Erock, is an annual road and mountain bicycling event hosted in Castle Rock, Colorado. It was created by Scot Harris in 1987 as a 100 mile road bike route to be “a way to start the Colorado cycling season” Today there are multiple concurrent rides hosted ranging from 7 to 100 miles in order to accommodate a broad range of skill. A maximum of 7,000 participants can register each year to ride.
The Elephant Rock Ride is primarily sponsored by Subaru and the full event is called the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival.
Crowfoot to Pinery Loop
Length: 21 Mi
Elevation Gain: 938 ft
Dove Valley / Cherry Creek
Length: 38 mi
Roads / Trails Used To Compose These Routes:
Crowfoot Valley Road.
Crowfoot Vally Road runs from Castle Rock to Parker. After turning onto Crowfoot Valley road from Founders, look for a parking spot on the shoulder, or side road. Crowfoot Valley Road has quite a bit of traffic, but it has a very wide shoulder that is great for cycling. The route quickly looses elevation as it drops towards Parker you should be able to make good time to Hess road.
Monarch Blvd Runs From Castle Pines to Highlands Ranch. It includes some rolling hills, but overall it looses elevation as you travel north. The road has a good bike lane, and a paved bike path parallels a good portion of it.
Some signs and maps label this as the “Centennial Trail” or the “Columbine Trail.” In any case, “Highway 470 Trail” is very accurate. Just about every other trail in the Denver area runs along a waterway, providing a nice respite from big-city traffic. Not so this trail. Just feet from the highway, it has to be one of the ugliest, noisiest trails in the area. It can provide a good workout (lots of hills) or a direct path to commute or connect other trails, if you can stand the traffic noise. Also, you must endure quite a few busy street crossings. Note: the gap in the map between the Northwest-Southwest section and Southwest-Central section are covered by other trails.
Cherry Creek Trail.
If you want continuous paved trail the closest access to Castle Rock is off of N. Pinery Parkway. If you are ok riding on some dirt you can access further south by taking a left onto walker road from highway 86 just west of Franktown (google maps link). Riding from here does entail about 1 mile each way on dirt. The best route to actually ride from Castle Rock to this trail is taking Crowfoot Vally Road to Hess road.
Perhaps the most popular trail in the Denver area, the Cherry Creek Trail takes you from the best areas of downtown, through the upscale neighborhoods of Cherry Creek, and finally to isolated wilderness areas in Cherry Creek State Park and Douglas County. You will see a bit of everything, including wildlife of all kinds in the southern sections of the trail. Eventually the trail will be connected all the way through to Castlewood Canyon State Park. Until then, there is one disconnected segment at Arapahoe Rd and Jordan that causes a navigation challenge. Unfortunately, there are no good options for this short section. Some will cross Arapahoe and then walk in the dirt east about a half-mile to Chambers (there is no sidewalk) to connect to the trail at Hutchison Park. Since Arapahoe Road is a very busy highway, this is a dangerous option especially for children. Cyclists can ride south on Jordan Road about 1.3 miles to Jamison, then east to Jasper to connect again via the Cherry Creek Valley Ecological Park. It is a very bad idea to ride bikes on Arapahoe Road. Work to connect the trail underneath Arapahoe Road is scheduled for 2013, and then the problem is solved.
This road runs from Plumb Creek To Tomah, on both sides of the interstate. The road on the east side is better for cycling (although both are fine). This road is loud and unpleasant, however, it has a good shoulder and serves as a link to bell mountain road, tomah, and eventually highway 105.
Lake Gulch Road
This road runs from Plumb Creek / Glibert intersection east to highway 83. It has some good rolling hills that provide a nice workout. There isn’t much of a shoulder on this road, however, traffic is low so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Bell Mountain Road
This is a nice loop that runs just east of the I25 frontage road. It is low traffic, has nice scenery, and provides some good climbing.
Mitchel Canyon Trails
There is a paved 8 foot wide concrete bike path in the Founders Village and Castle Wood Ranch neighborhood. If combined with mitchel street this can be ridden in an approximately 10 mile loop. There is a nice section through the canyon (you can stop for a hike on a native surface trail). There is Disk Golf at Matney park, and Tennis at Founders Park.
East Plumb Creek Trail
if you live in Castle Rock I am going to assume you know about this trail. It is useful for connecting meadows with downtown.